“If there was someone else in this position, what would you say to them?”
This is something I’ve been asked so often by all manner of different professionals (mainly the Police though) in my recent mental health relapse. And so, this has been my motivation in writing this blog post.
Because usually my answer would be “I’d advise them to contact the Crisis Team” or “I’d tell them it’s important to take your medication unless otherwise instructed by a Doctor” and even “I’d say that they should co-operate with staff.”
And yet, in all the situations where this advice has been relevant; I have done the exact opposite. I’ve been reluctant to call the Crisis Team. I’ve stopped my medication without medical approval. And I’ve been uncooperative with staff.
I think that I couldn’t imagine giving anyone this advice because a part of me also believed that I was the only person feeling this way and experiencing these things. Perhaps it was more about the fact that I just wanted to believe that no one else felt this way because I wouldn’t wish these thoughts, feelings, and experiences on anyone.
Another reason I don’t take my own advice is because I’ve ever been one to blow my own trumpet and I think that admitting that I might give good advice to someone would be doing so. It’d be acknowledging that I was useful. That I was important. And whilst those emotions might sound like they should be positive; really, all they do is make me feel a bit hopeless because they lead me to question why I can’t do these things for myself. So inevitably, when professionals’ highlight this in asking me what I’d say to someone in my position; all it does is make me feel worse. I feel like maybe I’m not worth that advice and that’s why I don’t listen to it myself.
When I’ve talked through this (being asked why I don’t take my own advice) with members of the Crisis Team and my Community Psychiatric Nurse they’ve always told me that it’s quite a common thing. A lot of people don’t take their own advice. It’s just about how extreme that is – if it’s advice on whether to buy those bargain shoes in Primark then that’s normal. If it’s about advising someone to go to A&E because they’ve self-harmed, then that’s another story.
But this is why I wanted to write this blog post; to illustrate that it’s common, you aren’t alone in feeling like this and that perhaps if this factor in your life is to the extreme, then you know that you should seek professional help. Sometimes just talking about things like this can help you to change your behavior because the important thing is that you’ve recognized that this is something you do.